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Amid Deep Job Losses, Who’s Fighting for Government Workers?
Richard Eskow   Oct 6, 2018   Huffington Post  

Politicians who seek populist/progressive support should stop repeating the antigovernment nostrums of the right and start challenging them instead. It’s time for genuine leaders to push for a bold public-sector jobs program, fearlessly and without cynicism.

Sometimes you have to step back a few paces to see how much conservatism has captured the public debate, and how few leading Democrats are fighting to get it back on track. Case in point: employment. Somehow the right has managed to stigmatize public-sector jobs so effectively that only politicians of rare and admirable courage are willing to defend them.

Unfortunately, those politicians seems to be in short supply nowadays.

Bill McBride wrote an excellent overview of public and private sector job growth under the last six presidents in his Calculated Risk blog. This chart was especially striking:

Public-sector employment grew by more than 1 million jobs under five of the last six presidents. Who was the exception? If you guessed conservative icon Ronald Reagan, guess again. 1,414,000 public-sector jobs were added during Reagan’s two terms. If you guessed Bush the Elder or Bush the Younger, that’s two more strikes. And if you guessed Bill Clinton, who liked to rail against “bureaucrats” and talk about “leaner” government, you were way off. Nearly 2,000,000 jobs were added during Clinton’s presidency.

The outlier is Barack Obama. 710,000 public-sector jobs — that’s nearly ¾ of a million — have been lost since Obama took office.

President Obama is not the architect of these losses. Most of them have taken place at the state and local level, although Federal jobs are now gaining a larger share of the losses. At every level, job loss has been fueled by Republican-backed cuts and stymied by conservative hostility toward government jobs.

That hostility succeeds by ensuring that the public never stops to think about who those government employees really are. It only takes a moment’s reflection to realize that they’re the teachers who educate our children, the police and firefighters who keep us safe, the sanitation workers who keep our streets clean, the Social Security employees who make sure the elderly and disabled receive their benefits, and dozens of other productive members of our communities.

Read the full article on Huffpost here

Richard "RJ" Eskow, serves on the IEET Board of Directors and as a Senior Fellow with the Campaign for America's Future. RJ is CEO of Health Knowledge Systems (HKS) in Los Angeles.

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